International Signing Bonus Pool
INTERNATIONAL SIGNING BONUS POOL
There is a maximum limit on the aggregate amount of money each MLB club can pay as signing bonuses to international first-year players.
1. Each MLB club is assigned an "International Signing Bonus Pool" (ISBP) prior to the start of the International Signing Period (ISP).
NOTE: The Cubs 2024 ISBP is $5,152,500 (it was $5,284,000 in 2023).
$7,114,800 for an MLB club that has a selection in Competitive Balance Round "B" (between the 2nd & 3rd rounds) of the MLB Rule 4 Draft;
$6,520,000 for an MLB club that has a selection in Competitive Balance Round "A" (between the 1st & 2nd rounds) of the MLB Rule 4 Draft;
$5,925,000 for an MLB club that does not receive Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) revenue sharing;
$5,152,500 for an MLB club that does not receive CBT revenue sharing that signed a post-2022 Article XX-B Qualified Player to a 2023 MLB contract (this includes the Cubs);
$4,652,200 for an MLB club that is a CBT payor that signed a post-2022 Article XX-B Qualified Player to a 2023 MLB contract.
2. Any signing bonus of $10,000 or less does not count toward a club's ISBP limit.
3. An MLB club (excluding clubs that receive CBT revenue sharing and MLB Rule 4 Competitive Balance draft picks) that signs an Article XX-B Qualified Player (not including its own Qualified Players) will have $500,000 subtracted from its assigned International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) in the next International Signing Period (ISP) for each Qualified Player signed, and an MLB club that is a Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) payor (club's payroll from the previous season exceeded the CBT threshold) would have $1,000,000 subtracted from its ISBP in the next ISP for each Qualified Player signed. (The Competitive Balance Tax threshold is $230M in 2022, $233M in 2023, $237M in 2024, $241M in 2025, and will be $244M in 2026). So if the Cubs sign an Article XX-B Qualified Player post-2022, $500K will be subtracted from their ISBP in the 2024 ISP.
POST-2022 ARTICLE XX-B QUALIFIED PLAYERS SIGNED BY CUBS (last updated 12-21-2022):
Dansby Swanson, INF
4. A club can carry-over up to $400K in ISBP space from one ISP to the next ISP if a contract or contracts signed by a player or players is/are voided after the conclusion of the ISP during which the contract or contracts was/were signed. The amount of ISBP space carried-over from the previous ISP must match the amount of ISBP space that was deducted from the club's ISBP after the player or players signed their contracts. If the amount of ISBP space deducted exceeded $400K, the amount of ISBP space in excess of $400K that is carried-over to the next ISP will be divided up into 29 equal amounts and added to the ISBP of the other 29 MLB clubs.
NOTE: A club's right to carry-over ISBP space from one ISP to the next ISP only applies to contracts that are voided as the result of the player failing his physical or being unable to obtain a visa to the U. S. or if an investigation by the MLB Commissioner determines the player falsified his age and/or identity prior to signing the contract. It does not apply to contracts voided by the MLB Commissioner as a result of a rules violation by the club.
6. The MLB Commissioner can order a club to forfeit up to 50% of its assigned ISBP from one or more ISP and/or one or more player contract(s) can be voided if it is determined that a club and/or a player or players attempted to circumvent the international signing bonus rules.
1. A international first-year player subject to ISBP restrictions cannot be signed to a Major League contract.
2. A player age 25 or older who has spent all or part of at least six seasons playing in an MLB-recognized foreign professional or "major" league is considered to be a "Foreign Professional" player. A "Foreign Professional" is not subject to ISBP international first-year player restrictions and can sign a Major League or minor league contract with any MLB organization without restriction. A signing bonus paid to a "Foreign Professional" does - NOT - count against the club’s ISBP.
NOTE: Beginning with the 2018-19 ISP, any "Foreign Professional" player under contract to a Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (Mexican League) club can sign a Major League or minor league contract with any MLB organization after the conclusion of the LMB season (including post-season), or (with consent of the player's LMB club) during the LMB season. If an MLB club signs an LMB player with "Foreign Professional" player status, the MLB club must pay the LMB club a one-time release fee equal to 15% of the total value of the contract if the player signs a Major League contract or 35% of the total value of the contract if the player signs a minor league contract. No release fee would be paid by the MLB club if the player's contract has expired or if the contract had been terminated by the LMB club prior to the MLB club offering a contract to the player.
3. A player under contract to a Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (Mexican League) club who has not yet reached "Foreign Professional" player status may sign a minor league contract with an MLB organization - IF - the LMB club agrees to release the player so that he can sign with the MLB club. The Mexican League club would receive a one-time release fee equal to 35% of the total value of the contract (by rule an international player who is not yet a "Foreign Professional" cannot sign a Major League contract). The release fee paid by an MLB club to an LMB club does - NOT - count against the MLB club's ISBP.
NOTE: Prior to the 2018-19 ISP, up to 75% of a signing bonus paid to a Mexican League player (or a player under contractual control of an LMB club) who had not yet reached "Foreign Professional" player status did not count against the MLB club's ISBP if the signing bonus was paid to the Mexican League club and not directly to the player and the player received no more than 25% of the signing bonus from the Mexican League club.
TRADING/ACQUIRING ISBP SPACE:
Trading ISBP space was prohibited in both the 2021 and 2022 ISP.
BEGINNING IN 2023:
An MLB club can trade up to 100% of its ISBP, and a club can acquire up to 60% of its assigned ISBP via trade or trades.
While up to 100% of a club's originally-assigned ISBP (plus up to an additional 60% of the club's originally-assigned ISBP that might be acquired in a trade or trades) can be traded, there are some restrictions:
1. A club's ISBP (or a portion of it) can only be traded during the International Signing Period (ISP) to which the ISBP was assigned (January 15th through December 15th);
2. A club can trade ISBP space only in increments of $250K (including multiples of $250K) unless the club was trading all of its remaining ISBP in one transaction.
3. A club's ISBP (or a portion of it) cannot be sold for cash. However, cash can be exchanged if it is used to offset the salary or salaries of a player or players acquired in return for the SBV;
4. A club's ISBP (or a portion of it) cannot be substituted for a "Player to Be Named Later" (PTBNL);
5. Another club's ISBP (or a portion of it) acquired in a trade CAN be traded ("flipped") to a third club.